FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE
The Bible: Where Do I Begin?
Now that you are a Christian, you will need to learn and grow in your new relationship with God. This is where the Bible comes in. Jesus Himself said that we need God's Word (the Bible) to really live: "Jesus answered, 'It is written: "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God"'" (Matthew 4:4). However, you might not know anything about the Bible at all and you might be confused about how to use it. This introduction has been written to give you a basic knowledge of the Bible as a whole and the New Testament in particular. Read this over carefully and use it to help you understand the Bible.
The Bible: What is it?
The Bible is made up of a number of different accounts, letters, and writings that we call the "books" of the Bible. There are sixty six in all, thirty nine in the Old Testament and twenty seven in the New Testament. They were written by different godly men at different times and places. However, the Bible is more than just the words of men. As these men wrote, God was working through them to get the exact words that He wanted written; so what we have is actually the truths that came from God Himself. "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (II Peter 1:20-21).
The Bible: What is it's Origin?
The Old Testament books were originally written in the Hebrew language and the New Testament books were written in the Greek language. The writing of the Bible took place over a period of fifteen hundred years. Since we do not speak ancient Hebrew or ancient Greek, educated men have translated the Bible into the different English versions so that we can read and understand God's Word.
The Bible: How is it Arranged?
The Old Testament books are accounts of God's first dealings with man, and how God had special dealings with a man (Abraham) and his descendants (the Jews) who were the ancestors of Jesus' life. The New Testament books are the accounts of what happened among His followers after He rose and went back into heaven. Also, it contains letters written by his followers to explain Christ and Christian living.
The books themselves are broken into chapters (the larger numbers on the page) and the verses (the smaller numbers on the page). This was done so that we could find things easier. Special notation is used to indicate exactly where you can find things in the Bible, for example, "John 20:30,31" means "the book of John, Chapter twenty, verses thirty and thirty one." Sometimes these books are written in short form: Matt. is the same as Matthew; Rom. is the same as Romans; I Tim. is the same as the first letter to Timothy. Lastly don't confuse John (the gospel of John) with I John, 2 John, 3 John (letters or epistles, written by John). Make use of the table of contents in your Bible as you get familiar with the location of each book.
Tips for Using the Bible
-Pray for understanding before and while you read the Bible.
-Use the Table of Contents to find the various books of the Bible.
-Use the markings at the top of each page to keep track of which chapter you are at as you look for a passage.
-Think about what you read, especially the things that strike you. God uses His Word to speak to you this way.
-Ask yourself questions. Is there: a promise to know, an action to take, a truth to learn, an example to follow, or something I should pray about now?
-Underline special verses.
-Believe, memorize and obey what God says!
The Bible: What Does it Teach?
Don't be mislead; there are many groups who claim to have the truth but they contradict the Bible. They claim to be Christian yet they desire you to leave the Christian Church. They always error in one or more of the essentials of the Bible. Following are the basics of Christianity as found in the Bible.
The Bible teaches that it is the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God and inerrant in the original writings. Accept no other book as the Word of God but the Bible.
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Tim 3:16). "For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (II Pet 1:21).
The Bible teaches that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is called the Trinity.
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one" (Deu 6:4). "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt 28:19). "I and the Father are one [Jesus speaking]" (John 10:30).
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin (Matt 1:23), lived a sinless life (Heb 4:15 and 7:26), proved by many miracles (John 2:11), died a vicarious and atoning death through His blood (I Cor 15:3; Heb 2:9), was resurrected bodily (John 11:25; I Cor 15:4), ascended to heaven (Mark 16:19), and will return in power and glory (Acts 1:11).
Remember for Jesus to have accomplished, this He must be God "Thomas said to him [Jesus], 'My Lord and my God!'" (John 20:28).
The Bible teaches that lost and sinful man must be saved and that man's only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Only God can save man. Man cannot save himself no matter what he does.
"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23). "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Eph 2:8-10). "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:4-5).
The Bible teaches that the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, by His indwelling, enables the Christian to live a Godly life. (Read Romans 6-8)
The Bible teaches the resurrection of both the saved and the unsaved: they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are unsaved unto the resurrection of damnation.
"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned" (John 5:28-29)
The Bible teaches that the spiritual unity of believers is in our Lord Jesus Christ and not any one particular Church.
"Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father" (Rom 8:14-15). "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink" (I Cor 12:12-13). "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:26-28).